Monday, 23 June 2014


"Popcorn" (1991, Mark Herrier, Alan Ormsby, Studio Three Film Corporation) is a fun American horror comedy set in an old theatre.

The Film department at a college is new and lacks funding. The students there, along with their teacher, Mr Davis (Tony Roberts), decide to run a horror marathon in the old cinema in town to raise funds and awareness for the department.

They are helped out by local film memorabilia collector, Mr. Mnesyne (Ray Walston) who helps them decorate the cinema and also provides them with William Castle-esque shlock props (zapping seats for a film about an electrocuted killer, a giant mosquito for a movie about killer mosquitos and some unpleasant aroma therapy mist for a Japanese horror film called "The Stench").

Maggie (Jill Shoelen) is one of the students, and an aspiring screen writer. She's been having some weird dreams about a strange bearded man and plans to write about the dreams in her own movie. However, when the gang come across a strange film reel called "The Possessor" which was filmed by madman, Lanyard Gates (the same bearded man that Maggie was dreaming about), who slaughtered his family live on camera, things become very weird.

Things become stranger still when, on show night, people begin to be killed off one by one by a masked killer. Is it the mental film maker returned? What is Maggie's connection with him? And who will survive the horror fest?

Fun and surprisingly well put together for a film with not only a fledgling director, but where the director was replaced half way through!

The story is engaging and the acting is perfect for a cheesy, but very watchable horror film. The plot is one part reflective fun at older horrors and another part 80s slasher homage.

The film was actually made in Jamaica, not America, so enjoys some interesting music and Maggie's mother is played by scream queen, Dee Wallace.

"Popcorn" manages to pay homage to the shock horror films of the 50s and the gimmicks created by directors of the day, primarily Mr. Castle, who pioneered several interesting cinema gimmicks. However, the slasher (or actual horror) part of the film is pretty standard fare, it does blend well as a film, and the ending result is an entertaining and humorous film.

If you're looking for serious, mind bending horror, look elsewhere, however, as this is very much light entertainment.

[Image: Studio Three Film Productions]

Basket Case 2

"Basket Case 2" (1990, Frank Henenlotter, Synapse Films, Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment) is the sequel to "Basket Case".

We're back in the company of our old pals, Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck) and his deformed, killer siamese twin, Belial Bradley.

The twins are on the run, but seek solace in the home of Granny Ruth (Annie Ross) who runs a home for people with similar deformities to Belial.

This oddly tame and completely off-kilter sequel does not do justice to the first film, which was a fun, if badly put together, low budget schlock fest. This time Belial finds a lady love and the whole film is just a step off of theme too far.

Lame and ridiculous. And I've sat through (and enjoyed) some pretty crappy stuff. 

I also can't help but wonder if the deformities dreamt up in this film helped inspire the Floop's Fooglies in "Spy Kids"....

[Image: Synapse Films]